The Middle Class in four Russian Regions: Government Policies and Behavioral Strategies
This paper represents an initial report on findings fro a study aimed at analyzing several key aspects of middle class development in the Russian regions, namely:
• Federal and regional government programs to stimulate the growth of the middle class (content, tools of implementation, effectiveness);
• Behavioral strategies and economic behavior (consumption patterns, propensity to save, investment) of different sections of Russian middle class;
• Middle class value orientation and political preferences (including preferences for democracy).
The selection of regions for our study was made after consultations with the leading Russian experts on regional problems: Irina Busygina, Leonid Smirniagin, Nikolai Petrov, and Rostislav Turovsky. Their expertise and readiness to help us significantly aided us in choosing our case studies. The criteria we used in selecting regions were the following:
• A relatively high level of urban development (this excludes backward regions);
• Variation in the level of socio-economic development: region-donor versus region-recipient of federal financial assistance;
• Political orientation of the regional government: democratic versus authoritarian.